'Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch': An Interview with IBM's Sandy Carter
Last week Social Media Today was pleased to interview Sandy Carter, IBM’s Vice President of Social Business and Collaboration Solutions Sales and Evangelism. We asked her about “social business” and how she regards the great organizational changes that give meaning to the term.
Sandy is also the author of a new book, Get Bold: Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business. Two excerpts are included in this post.
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SMT: How did IBM decide that it has a role to play in helping businesses become more social?
Carter: IBM focuses on the way people work and interact. We’ve been aware of the Internet’s great transformation into a social network for quite a while now. But many businesses are still not aware of how the transformation affects them, so they haven't learned how to use the Internet socially.
SMT: Haven’t executives gotten the message by now?
Carter: The C-Suite is still not on board. Regarding socializing on the Net, many of them still hold the attitude that “this is what my kids do.”
IBM believes that the transformation of the Internet to social is even bigger than the original transformation that created the Internet.
SMT: So, what do you do for your clients?
Carter: Here are two examples:
IBM provides products and services for people to adopt through its identities on Twitter.
On LinkedIn we have an IBM group for CFOs based in India. Through such groups relationships form, customer service is delivered and clients are helped to learn to use social media.
A Social Business is a business that embeds “social” in all of its processes, connecting people to people, people to information, and data to insight. It is a company that engages its employees and clients in a two-way dialogue with social tools, is transparent in sharing its expertise beyond its four walls, and is nimble in its use of insight to change on a dime. It is different from Social Media , in that Social Media primarily addresses or focuses on marketing and public relations. (that’s where the media comes from.)
- from Get Bold by Sandy Carter
SMT: Don’t you run into resistance from those skeptical CEOs when you offer to help a business go social?
Carter: IBM doesn’t go in to its clients and begin with tech talk or deliver product pitches. I believe that culture eats strategy for lunch. We first address questions asked by our client’s people - How do I use it? How does it impact my work? By showing people how to “live social” they can leverage their relationships.
SMT: How does IBM leverage relationships and put value into being a social business?
Carter: Two years ago, internally, IBM created “Community Manager Appreciation Day.” For clients, we also help facilitate community manager forums at companies like Aetna, Ovation and H&R Block.
The #1 demanded service by clients is training the trainers. IBM has its own Community Management Training Program where people learn the tools and techniques. They then teach customers how to do it themselves.
We have also found the need for a role called Social Media Risk and Reputation Manager, which addresses some C-Suite concerns.
There has been a 33% rise in the number of people performing Reputation Management.
CEOs must be told, “You can’t opt out. You must be involved in developing plans using social media. You must identify the teams."
In all my discussions with the C suite, the number one challenge is the concern about risk in opening up their business to the blogosphere. allowing them and your employees to express themselves instead of working in a controlled environment. You can’t always count on that loyal friend base saying just what you want them to. There are several actionable parts of the Social Business AGENDA to help you avoid and in some cases circumvent a negative “PR storm” about your company and brand.
- from Get Bold by Sandy Carter
SMT: What results are you seeing so far from your social business advocacy?
Carter: Now IBM is seeing clients establish social customer service departments, and new roles as social product innovation manager and social analytics manager. And understanding sentiment and affinity analysis is required for modern BI (Business Intelligence).
Again, more new roles are being defined and created by the social wave than were created by the new Internet itself.
Former SMT Senior Editor, currently a social media analyst/consultant. Now find me here as username Cliff Figallo.The quintessential online communities and social media veteran and expert. Founding director of The WELL, author of Hosting Web Communities ('98) and Building the Knowledge Management Network ('02).
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